Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

July 13 - 27, 2005

Issue #79

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend
   

BLOODY HELL
Tony Blair, Right Honourable Hypocrite
by Allan Uthman

 
VICIOUS CYCLE
Nailing the Interview
by Matt Taibbi
 
TO HELL WITH JUDITH MILLER
That's What I Said
by Stan Goff
 

U.S. POLLING INACCURATE, SAYS NEW POLL
100% Polled Asked Wrong Question

by Matt Taibbi

 

THE JOY OF SAILING
Summer Job Yields Unexpected Lessons
by Matt Higgins

 
TIMEly Features

10 QUESTIONS
For Scott McClellan

 

NOTBULL
Numbers & Quotes

 
FAUX-TURES

ASK DR. CRUISE
Mental Health Advice from the World's Foremost Expert

 

HOLY SHIT!
A Field Guide to Televangelists
by Nick Sorrenti

 

BEAST 5-DAY CELEBRITY FORECAST

 

BUSH SHREDS SKELETOR CRITICS ON BOTH SIDES

 

Sports

The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
 
The BEAST Blog

 

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The Sports Blotter by Matt Taibbi

LAST OF THE MO-HIGH-CANS
   

“We like the maturity of Martell Webster,” said Portland Trail Blazers GM John Nash, on draft night last week. “We like his character.”

Translation: I’m tired of picking up the newspaper every morning and seeing guys I just gave $10 million bonuses to being ushered out of a Crown Victoria in handcuffs, with windbreakers draped over their heads. Portland’s draft-night decision-making was widely panned both by the media and other NBA executives. Handcuffed by last year’s pick of self-promoting high school point guard phenom Sebastian Telfair, the Blazers had to pass on much-ballyhooed point guard prospects Deron Williams and Chris Paul. The team also elected to pass on this year’s consensus top high school player, Gerald Green, mainly due to concerns about “maturity” – which is the Portland-area euphemism for “potential member of our local NBA crime syndicate.”

The Jail Blazers, of course, are one of the greatest collections of professional sports criminals of all time. In recent years the team has been home to a rapist (Ruben Patterson), a guns-and-pants thief (Zach Randolph), a black-market dog-fighter (Qyntel Woods), and a panderer to minor girls (Marcus Brown). It employed the all-time NBA arrest leader, Isaiah Rider (21 arrests during his career, the Matterhorn of sports crime records). It is one of the first teams to require U.N. blue-helmets to maintain order at its own practices: just a year ago, Randolph fractured Patterson’s eye orbit, while reserve center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje required medical attention after subsequently-traded Rasheed Wallace whipped a baseball pass at him from across the gym.

Beyond that, a Blazer player last year was involved in what will certainly go down as the dumbest and most hilarious traffic stop incident of all time – Qyntel Woods attempted to pass his basketball card off as a driver’s license when pulled over by Oregon police.

Nash has tried to trade away his problem players as fast as possible, with the recent exodus including Woods, Wallace, and Bonzi Wells. His roster was once the outstanding ONDCP warning poster of the league, at one point containing no fewer than five players facing marijuana charges (Rider, Woods, Wallace, Erick Barkley, and Damon Stoudamire). The only one of those remaining is Stoudamire, who may now be out the door as a result of another draft-day Nash decision – a trade for Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack. Stoudamire last week made what may have been his last crime headline as a Blazer. An Arizona judge ruled that Stoudamire is not eligible for a jury trial in his famous “You mean like this marijuana?” airport-possession case. Sports crime buffs may recall this famous incident, in which Stoudamire, when asked at a Tucson airport if he was carrying any metal objects, responded by (allegedly) surreptitiously dropping a wad of weed wrapped in tin foil through his pants leg.

Last week’s ruling comes on the heels of an Arizona State Supreme Court decision which exempted misdemeanor crimes of “moral turpitude” from jury-trial status. The Portland guard would also have been denied a trial, for instance, if he had been arrested for bottomless nude ballroom dancing. Perhaps this was what Nash was worried about when he passed on Gerald Green. In any case, tune in to this space for more news of the troubled last days of the fabled Jail Blazer crime spree...

BILOXI BLUES
   

Troubled times at Ole Miss, which has never had a reputation as a problem program in college football – at least not with neighbors like Florida State and Arkansas to keep the headlines filled.

The team last week dismissed incoming freshman linebacker Wallace Bates for violating team rules. Bates had recently been arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, in the latest of what has been a string of Runnin’ Rebels arrests, many of which are expected to culminate in trials in Oxford, Miss. this month. Former fullback Lorenzo Townsend and redshirted safety Keith Houston await trial for rape, while star defensive lineman McKinley Boykin is also expected this month to stand trial on domestic violence charges. Meanwhile, Jamal Pittman was last year arrested on gun charges, while fullback Rick Razzano was suspended following an assault charge. The football team remains embroiled in a legal tussle over he employment status of defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who was arrested on March 3, allegedly for falling down drunk in an Oxford Subway sandwich shop. Cullen claims he was wrongfully terminated after news of his arrest was made public, while the University maintains he was never fired at all; what promises to be a heated court action is pending.

The arrest of Cullen, who was once reprimanded at his previous job in Indiana for striking a player on the helmet during a game, marked the second time within a space of six weeks that an Ole Miss coach was brought in on alcohol-related charges. Assistant coach Charlie Camp had been arrested on Jan. 29 for that old standby of minor sports offenses: “driving erratically in the public square.” Camp resigned shortly thereafter. All in all, the school has had 10 players or coaches arrested in the last two years – not a high number for an SEC program, but well above their own average.

SAFETIES IN NUMBERS

The remarkable crime blotter run on NFL safeties continues. A month ago, New Orleans Saints safety Dwight Smith was arrested for waving a pellet gun at a pair of fans who accosted him at a Louisiana drive-thru. Then came the more serious arrest of onetime U- Miami phenom Sean Taylor, lately of the Washington Redskins, who was charged with felony assault in a bizarre incident in which the big-hitting centerfielder allegedly waved a gun at three people he claimed were stealing his all-terrain vehicles. Then there was Mike Doss, safety of the Indianapolis Colts, who was arrested for waving a gun in public (do you sense a pattern here yet?) in Akron, Ohio.

Then last week came yet another arrest, this time of a less heralded player — former practice-squader and undrafted free agent for the Miami Dolphins Quintin Williams. Williams was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol last week after he was caught, at 4 a.m., driving 111 mph in a 65 zone on I-595 near the Dolphins practice facility. Amusingly, Williams was caught not merely speeding, but drag-racing — against an imposter-cheerleader! When police busted Williams they also apprehended one Brandy Lynn Richards, who was clocked at 109 mph. The speed difference was probably due to the make and model: Williams was driving a very phat and tricked-out 2006 Mercedes belonging to teammate Travares Tillman (another safety; he was in the passenger seat), while Richards was stuck with a 2005 Nissan Maxima.

Upon arrest, Richards identified herself to police as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader, a claim that was vigorously denied with surprising alacrity by team spokesman Harvey Greene. "She is not and never has been a Miami Dolphins cheerleader," he said. Williams upon arrest was taken to a Broward County police station and forced to play, and ultimately lose, a game of breathalyzer roulette. He scored an .087, which in most Slavic countries qualifies as absolute sobriety but which in Florida is exactly .007 above the legal limit. Williams was therefore stuck with a DUI charge, in addition to speeding and the highly unusual charge of "racing on a highway." Surprisingly, Williams is the first NFL player to be arrested on drag-racing charges, and the only celebrity since loathsome "Survivor" contestant Colby Donaldson.

Now for the funny part. In a press conference the day after the incident, new Dolphins coach Nick Saban seemed exasperated by reporters' questions, which seemed to call for some kind of action to be taken. "What do you want me to do, cut the guys?" pleaded Saban. Reporters shrugged. A few days later, the Dolphins went ahead and cut Williams, which invites speculation about who is actually running that team. Meanwhile, in other NFL safety news, the Redskins' Taylor suffered a major blow in court last week when a Florida judge refused to throw out the weapons charge against him. Taylor, who has the distinction of being described by his own team as "the most researched player in NFL history" — the 'Skins allegedly went all-out on their pre-draft background check a few years ago — now faces a mandatory three-year jail sentence if convicted.

It may be time to start placing bets on which safety gets tagged next. Will it be Lawyer Milloy, for corpse desecration? Securities fraud charges against Patriots reserve Antuan Edwards? Adam Archuletta, on 37 counts of serial murder? Stay tuned...

NOT IN THE GREEN ROOM
 

Things could have been so different for Pierre Pierce. That could have been him in that seven-button purple double-breasted suit, grinning into the camera with a new Charlotte Bobcats cap (complete with tag) hanging sideways off his head, mumbling those magic words: "I'll do whatever coach asks me to... I just want to help any way I can..."

Ah, but the Iowa Hawkeyes star was not within spitting distance of Chad Ford, Tom Tolbert & co. Tuesday night. The NBA draft was not in the cards for the standout guard, who instead is laboring through the courts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, trying desperately to avoid a 56-year jail sentence for burglary and attempt to commit sexual assault against his former girlfriend.

In Iowa, the upcoming Pierce trial is a statewide celebrity sensation, sort of a localized Kobe case, attracting daily coverage by all the major Iowan papers. The brouhaha stems from a Jan. 27 incident in which Pierce allegedly entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and assaulted the woman. Since then, Pierce has been bounced from the team, prohibited by the judge from attending NBA workouts out of state, and dropped from the prestigious Chicago pre-draft workouts by the NBA. Minus the legal problems, he would likely have been a second-round pick.

Last week, papers filed by Pierce's attorneys revealed the extent of his change in fortunes. In asking the state to assume the costs of his defense, Pierce claimed he is living on $170 a month, spending just $50 a month on food. At the time he filed the affidavit, Pierce had no money in either his checking or savings account.

Pierce, one of the most celebrated Hawkeyes ever, goes to trial on August 16. We'll have updates before the verdict.

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